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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 4, 2009 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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he signed the know, your muslim brother. >> wow. quite a story. >> that's our broadcast for now. on our broadcast tonight -- jobs. there's good news in today's numbers. but is there a game changer out there for those lookg for work? judgment day. a verdict in italy tonight for the american college student. amanda knox facing life in prison. climategate, they're calling it. a new scandal over global warming, and it's burning up the internet. have the books been cooked on climate change? unhappy returns. say it ain't so. is china really taking back a beloved panda born in the usa? and making a difference by delivering health and saving lives around the world. "nightly news" this friday night lives around the world. "nightly news" this friday night begins now.
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captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. you may have heard about the good numbers out today on jobs. and they are. but it may be a while before they truly get better. the unemployment rate is down. it's now at 10%, though. that's down from 10.2% last month. only 11,000 jobs were lost in this period. wall street was up on this news. but again, there are big warnings that when we talk recovery here it will take years. the jobs could come back, but way down the road. we begin here tonight with the chief white house correspondent, chuck todd, at the white house tonight. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. well, the president traveled to allentown, pennsylvania in an attempt to connect personally on this jobs issue in a city that has struggled to find new industries that will create new jobs.
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one day after hosting a so-called job summit at the white house with ceos, the president hit the road to show he understands the pain hitting main street. >> in the two years since this recession began, too many members of our american family have felt the gut punch of a pink slip. >> reporter: the president used the occasion to tout what he said was the best jobs report in two years. >> this is good news. just in time for the season of hope. but i do want to keep this in perspective. we've still got a long way to go. >> the job market is still very tough. the best you can say from this report about the job market today, it's less bad than we thought it was, but it's still bad. we're still losing jobs in this country. >> reporter: next tuesday before heading off to europe to pick up his nobel peace prize the president will lay out his plan to jump-start job creation. to pay for the initiatives he'll likely call for using some taxpayer money from the $700 billion wall street bailout. it could include measures to push banks to boost their lending to small businesses.
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>> our message to the banks is the taxpayers were there for you to clean up your mistakes. you now have a responsibility to be there for the community -- >> reporter: this tight credit market is a big concern to allentown small business owners, according to local business leader susan kennedy. >> the people that run the organizations like the banks need to have faith that things are going to improve and not get so overly concerned with if they're going to get paid back. i think if the credit risk is good they need to make the loan. >> reporter: she was one of a handful of folks who participated in a lively but short q & a session with the president, which included one college student advocating the legalization of prostitution, gambling, and drugs as a way to stimulate the economy. >> i appreciate the boldness of your question. part of what you're supposed to do in college is question conventional wisdom. >> reporter: brian, rest assured the present said he's not considering any of those ideas
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to stimulate job growth. but do expect to see the president on the road more to talk about these things. they think politically he's been too tied to the wall street bailout and washington and he needs to get on the road so people see him working on this jobs issue on main street, brian. >> chuck todd starting off our reporting on this subject. chuck, thanks. and even as the job picture brightened a bit today, for african-americans these are extremely tough times. as black workers face the combination of a much higher unemployment rate. it's 9.3% for whites compared to 15.6% for blacks. and a much tighter job market for blue and white-collar jobs. nbc's ron allen looks at what's behind these numbers. >> reporter: at this job fair in new york the statistics say it will be tougher for the unemployed african-americans to find work. >> so i'll give you my card. >> reporter: sharette smith, a
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lawyer, wonders if race limits her chances. >> it's not something you can specifically put your finger on and definitively say that that's what's going on. partly because it's not politically correct to do that. and partly because it's very subtle. >> reporter: they struggle with the persistent reality of higher unemployment rates for blacks than whites. the reasons, analysts say, are because the economy has lost many jobs black workers traditionally hold -- lower-wage positions in urban areas in manufacturing and retail. and during this recession the gap has also widened further up the ladder, between workers with college degrees, which some argue is not just an economic problem. >> there are multiple factors, but i think even among the college educated the issue of discrimination probably plays some role. >> reporter: to measure that researchers have tested employers by sending exact resumes from applicants with different-sounding names. >> the emily and greg resumes get 50% more positive responses
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than the lakisha and jamal resumes. >> reporter: labor experts say that bias remains a sensitive issue with no easy answers, one that many employers and those looking for work try to avoid by trying to focus on what seems to help narrow the employment gap. for example, many minority professionals lack networks of friends and colleagues that often provide leads about jobs and opportunities. this non-profit tries to build those connections. >> what we focus on is providing that access and opportunities to companies, to senior individuals and senior leaders. >> reporter: back at the job fair andre mcnair, a former pharmaceutical industry manager, says things are still tough. >> i have to agree with our president. sometimes it has to get a little worse before it gets better. >> reporter: an economic story that can be told in numbers and colors across the country. ron allen, nbc news, new york. there is a verdict tonight for amanda knox, the young american woman who went abroad to study, ended up spending more than two years in an italian
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jail accused of murdering and sexually assaulting her english roommate. nbc's keith miller covering the trial is with us from there tonight. keith, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. well, here in perugia, italy an eight-member jury deliberated for about ten hours and passed a guilty verdictn amanda knox, sentencing her to 26 years in prison. her ex-boyfriend got 25 years in prison. both of them fined the equivalent of $1.5 million. the murder made a sensation almost from the moment italian police discovered the body of meredith kercher, an exchange student from england. when the prosecutor in the case suggested a blond blue-eyed student from seattle was a suspect, there was a media storm. >> i don't think perugia for a very long time will be able to shake the murder of meredith kercher. i think people will always associate perugia with this murder. >> reporter: italian authorities established a theory knox alg with her boyfriend, raffaele
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sollecito, and another man, rudy guede, were high on drugs when they attempted to lure kercher into a sex game. when she refused, knox slit her throat. in closing arguments the prosecutor altered his theory, calling the murder a hate crime, accusing knox of seeking vengeance against a roommate who complained that she was promiscuous. guede was convicted of the crime in an earlier trial. but knox and sollecito maintained their innocence till the end. >> they adamantly had nothing to do with this, and they're adamant they're not responsible for the murder of meredith kercher. >> reporter: this morning defense lawyers had a final opportunity to convince the jury their clients are not guilty. police procedures were questioned, and the validity of dna challenged. teams of forensic scientists provided wildly contradictory testimony about the validity of the evidence. since her arrest two years ago knox has captured the imagination of the italian press and public. perhaps most fascinating, the
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all-american girl called angel face by the italian media never fit the image of a killer. on hearing the verdict knox broke into tears. her mother collapsed. and the family of her ex-boyfriend, sollecito, started hurling abuse at the prosecution. the knox family say they will appeal, doing everything they can to get their daughter safely back home to seattle, washington. brian? >> keith miller on tonight's verdict in italy. keith, thanks. and a reminder. there is much more on the story of amanda knox tonight tonight. that's "dateline" at 9:00, 8:00 central time. there was a surprising announcement just a short time ago from the white house. president obama has changed his plans, now says he won't attend the beginning of that u.n. conference on climate change next week in copenhagen. instead, he'll attend at the end of the conference, when leaders from china and india will be there. and as the world prepares to tackle this issue, there's a new scandal that's burning up the net these days that began with e-mails that were stolen, and
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the scandal has to do with climate change. our chief environmental affairs correspondent anne thompson has our report. >> reporter: the hottest debate in the blogosphere is about changes in the earth's atmosphere and what stolen e-mails reveal about some data supporting global warming. those who doubt that manmade greenhouse gases are changing the climate say these e-mails from britain's university of east anglia show climate scientists massaging data and suppressing studies by those who disagree. that's led to angry headlines on both sides of the atlantic and angry politicians. >> it's junk science, and it is a part of a massive international scientific fraud. >> reporter: the uproar is having an impact. the united nations today said it would investigate the e-mails but did not back away from the science that led it to determine man is responsible for global warming. still, critics say the e-mails show catastrophic predictions of countries and people devastated by warming need to be
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reconsidered. >> there are clear problems with these records that deserve investigation, and not providing them to people because they're "going to find something wrong with it" is just not the way we're supposed to do science. >> reporter: today in a letter to congress 25 leading u.s. scientists accused climate change opponents of misrepresenting the e-mails' significance. >> i think the e-mail scandal is being used as a political sideshow to deflect interest in actually dealing with climate change. i think in that regard it will fail. >> reporter: even more than in copenhagen some think the e-mails will have the greatest impact in washington, giving politicians from coal and oil-producing states another reason to delay taking action to reduce emissions. the government's leading scientists told congress there is no time to lose. >> i emphasize that climate change is not a theory. it is a documented set of observations about the world. >> reporter: an ever-changing
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world still debating how much it is changing. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. and there's weather in the news tonight. snow today in houston, texas. weather experts say it is the earliest snowfall on record in that city. as much as four inches fell in some places, snarling travel. and in a city on the gulf of mexico with no salt spreaders, houstonians are being warned to stay indoors tonight as it gets colder there. already a big mess at the airport. a lot of pre-emptively cancelled flights. when our broadcast continues on a friday night, the nation's capital gets ready to say good-bye to one of its favorite residents. say it ain't so. and later, sending some things we take for granted here to a place where they are badly needed. it is our "making a difference" segment for this friday night. but i didn't know why. my doctor diagnosed it as fibromyalgia. and then he recommended lyrica... fibromyalgia is thought to be the result
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of over-active nerves that cause chronic, widespread pain. lyrica is fda-approved to help relieve the unique pain of fibromyalgia. so now, i'm learning what a day is like with less pain. lyrica is not for everyone. tell your doctor about any serious allergic reaction that causes swelling or affects breathing or skin, or changes in eyesight including blurry vision or muscle pain with fever or tired feeling. lyrica may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in a very small number of people. some of the most common side effects of lyrica are dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and swelling of hands, legs, and feet. do not drink alcohol while taking lyrica. you should not drive or operate machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. could your pain be caused by fibromyalgia? ask your doctor about lyrica today.
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if you're among thmillions who use slim fast to lose weight, you'll want to know this. the company that makes the diet shakes is recalling all of its canned products because of the risk of bacterial contamination. they s the chance of actually getting sick is remote but if you have any of these on hand consumers are being warned not to drink them. if you visit washington, d.c. with your family, with your school, there's a good chance a stop on your trip will be to see tai shan, the 4-year-old panda who was born here in the u.s. the panda that china is taking back. the move is breaking hearts in washington. and why wouldn't it? our report tonight from nbc's andrea mitchell. >> reporter: tai shan appeared unfazed today, oblivious to the uproar over his custody.
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>> we understand this is traumatic for a lot of people, not the least of which is our own staff, but for the public. >> i'm sorry. we're going to miss him. >> he's on my web cam every day. >> reporter: the zoo says 2 million people a year have watched tai shan's web cam, when as the first panda cub born here to survive infancy he was nicknamed butter stick for his tiny size, to his current 200 pounds. in fact, america's love affair with pandas started in 1972, when president nixon opened the door to china and beijing sent washington its first panda couple. the company tracked every fetal heartbeat as they tried to produce a cub. >> in another long-running washington drama -- >> the panda cub born to ling ling has died. >> reporter: now, even though tai shan was born here, appears on a u.s. stamp, and is hugely popular, it turns out officially he is chinese. today china's spokesman seemed embarrassed to be taking him away. >> i'm afraid i'll have to work
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hard explaining to some of my colleagues in the chinese embassy and particularly to my family and my son. >> reporter: the news even reached the secretary of state at nato. i can't talk about it. i'm too upset right now. >> reporter: so could china's panda grab cause a rift in diplomatic relations? and if they want their panda back, what's next? could beijing even try to call in our national debt? >> sad. >> why sad? >> because i like the pandas. >> i think it would be nice for him to go to china so that he can go back to his home. >> reporter: tonight tai shan's keepers only hope his parents can produce another cub before they too have to return to china next year. andrea mitchell, nbc ns, at the national zoo. there's word tonight former mayor of new york city rudy giuliani has been hired by rio as a security consultant for the 2016 olympic games. giuliani's often been credited with the drastic drop in crime here in new york during his time
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in office. in rio de janeiro the big challenges are predicted to be drug-related crime and violence. we're back in just a moment ith a wish fulfilled. a wish fulfilled. now you can make water work harder with new dulcolax balance. dulcolax balance combines with water and helps bring it where it needs to go... so it works with your body to restore balance. new dulcolax balance... helps you get back to being yourself. ♪ feeling free by changing her medicare prescription plan. all we had to do was go to cvs.com and use the free savings calculator. we learned that changing your medicare part d plan could save an average of $612. woman: we just entered my prescriptions, and it compared plans for us. it was easy to find the right plan for the prescriptions i need. your cvs pharmacist can helptoo. come in today, or go to cvs.com before december 31st
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quite a photo from the oval office. you probably already know the work of the make-a-wish foundation is just that. and it was 6-year-old jasmina's wish to meet president obama. she has leukemia, and after a long remission it's back again. the two of them met on wednesday. she said she was so excited she could not sleep a wink the night before. now to the latest news about swine flu. and while the ne is od, the timing is a little off. first the good news. for the fifth week in a row the federal government says swine flu rates are dropping off. widespread now in just about half the states. the irony, though, is that the news comes just as the swine flu vaccine is coming to market and becoming more available.
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it's now been a month since the deadly shootings at ft. hood in texas, and today the very same unit of army therapists that lost many from their ranks that day deployed to the war zone in afghanistan. the army psychiatrist accused in those shootings, major nidal hasan, was to have served with this unit and gone off on this very same deployment round. a medal of honor recipient from world war ii might have thought he'd seen the fight of his life on overseas battlefields, but these days he is fighting to keep the america flag on the front lawn of his house in virginia. turns out his community association there doesn't allow flagpoles in the rules. 90-year-old van barfoot is vowing to fight this if the decision, due a week from now, goes against him. and considering he's a veteran of world war ii, korea, and vietnam, he's got quite a few vets behind him. when we come back, how some extras here in the u.s. are
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like something was stealing him away from us. we wanted to be there for him... to hold on to him. dad's doctor said his symptoms were signs of alzheimer's, a type of dementia, and that prescription aricept could help. it's thought aricept may reduce the breakdown of a vital chemical in the brain. studies showed aricept slows the progression of alzheimer's symptoms. it improves cognition
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and slows the decline of overall function. (announcer) aricept is well tolerated but not for eryone. people at risk for stomach ulcers or who take certain other medicines should tell their doctors because serious stomach problems such as bleeding, may get worse. some people may experience fainting. some people may have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bruising, or not sleep well. some people may have muscle cramps or loss of appetite or may feel tired. in studies these were usually mild and temporary. (woman) if it helps dad be more like himself longer, that's everything to us. (announcer) don't wait. talk to your doctor about aricept. time now for our "making a difference" report. tonight it's about things most of us take for granted at
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hospitals he in the united states. no matter what you think about health care, think of this -- clean syringes, sterile dressings in the operating room, basic heart monitoring equipment, proper surroundings and materials, all of it so common here we often have too much of it in the u.s. that's where a project saving lives on the other side of the world comes in. our report tonight from nbc's michael okwu. >> reporter: from an ethiopian slum this is the smile a little girl gets when she's been given a second chance to live. 5-year-old tekwamesh awai was born with a heart defect, a pulmonary artery so narrow it obstructed normal blood flow. she didn't eat or sleep, her mother says. she was awfully sick. the condition kills thousands of children here every year. but doctors saved tekwamesh with the help of ethiopia's only cardiac catheterization lab for
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children, a gift froan organization half a world away in a denver suburb. >> when i first started project cure, you can imagine my learning curve. >> reporter: it's where jim jackson founded project cure, a non-profit that collects surplus medical supplies from hospitals and thenorts, tests, and ships those supplies to the poorest clinics and hospitals worldwide. scrubs for kenya, scanners for cambodia. jackson, a former economist, came up with the idea after witnessing squalor at a doctor's clinic in the brazilian highlands. so he promised he'd return with donated supplies. and he delivered. >> the director of the hospital said to me, you know what you really brought us? you brought us hope. >> reporter: since its first shipment in 1987, project cure has sent medical supplies to 123 countries. this year alone it plans on moving $40 million worth to 70 hospitals around the world.
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all with the help of donations and the time of 10,000 volunteers, including retired e.r. nurse millie truitt. >> when i touch things, i think, you know, who is this going to touch? reporter: back in ethiopia, where checkups now start with life-affirming hugs, doctors estimate the lives of some 2,000 children a year will be saved by that cath lab alone. "now i play. i can do whatever i want," tekwamesh says. a little girl with a smile and a message across ss. >> thank you. >> reporter: michael okwu, nbc news, centennial, colorado. >> if you want to learn more about their good work, if you're looking for a way to give to project cure, we've put it all on our website, nightly.msnbc.com. that is our broadcast for this friday night and for this week. thank you for being with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you back here on monday. in the meantime, have a good weekend. in the meantime, have a good weekend. good night.
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